Katie’s Story

I’m not going to just serve anymore.   Before you judge me, read until the end and decide if you will stop just serving too. I’m not saying serving is a bad thing to do, I’m just suggesting another way of thinking about it. There’s more to serving… here’s my story and the event that happened that has changed me.

I grew up in church. I watched my dad serve as a deacon and Sunday School teacher; my mom served by providing meals and ice cream at our church fellowships (yes, you might guess… I grew up Baptist and we ate a lot!). As I got older, it became my turn to serve. I kept the nursery, led some youth groups, and took meals to the sick. You know, the usual. Serving was a family tradition.

Over time, I began to view service as an act of worship. And that hasn’t changed for me. I spend time serving in the preschool and special needs ministries at Chets. Sometimes I am with children who are able to understand the spiritual lessons of God’s creation and His love for us, but often the work is rather ordinary. Nevertheless, I am convinced that every diaper changed, every lego picked up, every snack provided, and every baby rocked is as much an act of worship as the lessons taught (Colossians 3:23-24).

I agree with Rick Warren who teaches that we are created to serve God. The Bible confirms this truth. Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (NIV). In addition, serving is also rewarded. Hebrews 6:10 says “ God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them” (NIV).

So if serving for me is tradition, worship, and rewarded, aren’t those all good reasons I should serve? The fundamental word here is should. I don’t know about you, but the word should just does something to me. And that something is called guilt! Not healthy guilt related to godly sorrow, but destructive guilt that leads to self-condemnation, and distorted thinking. The “shoulds” related to serving have “wiggled” into my thinking attempting to rob me of the joy of service and the blessings.

But God very lovingly dealt with me on this issue. Last Fall, I agreed to facilitate one of the Tuesday morning women’s Bible studies. My motives were not should-driven, but rather a Yes-response to God’s prompting. Our study was on the book of Esther. If you are familiar with the story, you know that a very pivotal moment is when Esther has to make a decision. She is either going to participate in God’s plan to rescue the Jews from destruction, or His plan would be accomplished another way. Mordecai says to Esther, “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish.” (Esther 4:14, NIV). Esther indeed gave God a Yes-response to His prompting, and through her willingness to participate she received tha blessing of witnessing God’s plan unfold.

During the study of Esther, I experienced the blessing of seeing God’s plan unfold in the life of a beautiful young lady in the class. Katie had moved to Jacksonville for the purpose of awaiting a double lung transplant. We had met the previous Spring while members of another women’s study at Chets. Katie always had a bounce in her step. I never heard her complain about carrying the oxygen tank or her illness. When she entered the room, it always seemed brighter. Her smile was contagious. As I got to know her, I learned that she was godly young lady, seeking Him in all her life. When she came to the Esther study I was facilitating, I was thrilled to have her as a member. I knew she would be a blessing to the group.

About four weeks into the study of Esther, as I was driving my daughter to school, we were preparing to say our prayers, as is our custom. I sensed a prompting from God to pray specifically for Katie. I knew she had been waiting a couple of years for her transplant, and I felt God leading me to pray specifically for her and her transplant. I told my daughter about Katie and we prayed. Two days later, I hear from Katie. She had received the call from Mayo. The time of transplant had arrived. Now, let me be clear. There was nothing magical about my prayer. Neither God nor Katie needed me to pray. His plan was already in place whether I participated or not. But like Esther, God blessed me by allowing me to witness His work. Had I not participated in the Spring Bible study, had I not agreed to facilitate the Fall study, both my daughter and I would have missed out on watching His plans unfold.

So now, I no longer agree to serve… I choose to participate! I choose to participate because I know that whether His plan is revealed to me or not, my yes-response puts me in position to be a part of His work. As Mordecai told Esther, and I paraphrase…. “with or without you, God’s plan will prevail”. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to miss out! God’s plan is exciting. I don’t want to spoil a future post here, but Katie is doing amazing!

The double-blessing here is that through this experience God has relieved me from those feelings of guilt associated with the “shoulds” of service. Recently, we have had several unavoidable times in which we have been out of town and I was not able to serve on Sunday mornings as usual. Instead of feeling the guilt associated with not serving, I now feel a sense of longing to return to the areas of service God has allowed me to participate in. I can’t wait to see what else God is going to do! How about you?

{This post was written by Eve Huntley. Eve is a wife, mother, business manager, student and Southerner. She and her husband Joe married five years ago, blending their families. Their five children range in age from 12 to 23. The two oldest now live on their own, leaving three kiddos at home with three rowdy dogs! In other words, they have a super quiet and peaceful home environment…. NOT!  God has given her a passion for helping families with marriage, parenting, and family-of-origin issues.}

4 thoughts on “Katie’s Story

  1. Ah but Katie did need you! After reading this, I want to write about how lost we would have been without Chet’s women, particularly our group, Eve! Our time after transplant and the way y’all moved in to take care of my whole family, was a perfect example of why God created His people to live in community with one another. Never in all of my life have I been able to rely on my church family as I have been able to here at Chet’s.

  2. Beautiful, Eve. I was moved and thankful for your lovely blog and the sharing. I am so grateful to have been in that Esther study and, of course, for becoming friends with Katie and experiencing her beautiful story.

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